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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to have a low stress, budget friendly Christmas!

So in the past I always get ultra stressed around Christmas.  I don’t know why, but it was like Christmas time would catch me off guard.  Plus, after getting married there was adjustments to different Christmas/Holiday traditions to get use to and all that comes with it.
Well, on the 5th year, I finally figured out what makes me work, and for the first time in a while I am having a pretty stress free Christmas:
1)      Plan Early! Duh! For some reason, I would forget Christmas was coming, then when I realized it was so caught up in the wants and needs of everyone else that I could barely hear myself think…plus I was BROKE!  So, this year, I started thinking about Christmas in October, making my list, deciding how much money I needed, and saving from paychecks to make it happen. This worked so well, I’m going to start even earlier next year, oh and I started a Christmas Fund (saving for 12 months).
2)      Pay Cash! Duh…please don’t charge Christmas. Did you know that the average American doesn’t pay off Christmas for 6 months following Christmas! Click Here Don’t be a statistic. MsMoneyGuru doesn’t believe in using Credit Cards, so this wasn’t an option for me anyway.  But NO ONE (on my Christmas list), not even my child is worth my financial stability and responsibility I have to myself and my family.  Sorry, if I don’t have the money I don’t get it.
3)      Make a list, check it twice. The B-WORD again!  I’m sorry, there is no getting around it…you need to budget everything you do!  Including Christmas.  So using my trusty EXCEL Spreadsheet, I made a list of all the people I wanted to give gifts to, including any gift exchanges, and Christmas decorations, etc.  I put 3 columns next to each person: 1) gift (description), 2) Budget Cost, and 3) actual cost.  In some cases I didn’t spend that much, maybe what I wanted was on sale or maybe I used “Kohl’s Cash” or coupon codes from another purchase…it evened out the budget on items I went over budget on.  As long as I made it within my overall budget I was happy, and therefore I am!  
4)      Tell everyone to get over it!  You don’t have to actually say this…just do it!  In the past, I would succumb to the pressure of buying gifts when I couldn’t afford it. I would just “charge it”. Well, last year was the year I stopped charging.  I had overwhelming debt and obligations, so Christmas budgeting was the last thing on my mind.  Well in the end, I managed to scrape a few dollars together to get some gifts for family, but I had to stand my ground and tell my family that the gifts would be small this year. Not everyone understood this…but honestly who is going to be in my house the following month paying all these bills, not them! 
So, if you suffer from the same issue with pleasing others that I once did, LET IT GO!  Get what you can afford and move on…Christmas is about spending time not money on people; if they can’t understand that, then that’s not my problem…I have my own problems to deal with. Now a days I don’t wait to see what people want me to do, I just do what I want to do, and give what I want to give…I’m the giver, I get to decide what and how much! Plain and simple!
5)      Remind yourself “Who” is the Reason for the Season!  It helps calm your nerves because you realize why you have the ability to give. Continue to thank God for His grace and mercy and for sending Jesus to the world to rid it of its sin. Once you center yourself on that, everything else is cake. 

1 comment:

  1. Although I'm just seeing this(in March), I followed your steps. I thought I was the only one who stressed over Christmas. Planning ahead makes so much of a difference and the spread sheet! Omg! I would make my list of people, allot a certain amount per person and after I purchased their gift I would list that amount. I actually went UNDER budget and paid CASH for everything!


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